Fort Scott May 3rd 1862
Dear Sir if I remember right I wrote to you some time since and have received no answer yet but thinking perhaps you have not received my letter. I take this opportunity to write again and see if I can get an answer. I find myself enjoying very good health here in this unsteady climate for such it is Some times cold and some times hot some times rain & some times snow__ but soldiers get used to all kinds of weather. Our regiments have all gone to Carthage Mo but one company viz. Cavalry~ and the band. Since the Battle at Pittsburgh landing I have seen the names of many of my friends from Ohio among the wounded and I saw the name of Wallace Coburn among the wounded at Winchester and have since heard of his death. A quite a number of the Hartford Boys were wounded at Pittsburgh and have come home since. but we have had no Battles yet. Nothing but small skirmishes. The Missourians will not fight. We have killed about 12 of them and taken a number of prisoners and confiscated some property. Since I commenced to write our men discovered a man on a horse some distance from camp, We thought it looked suspicious and started a squad of men in pursuit, They overtook him about 3 miles from camp drew their revolvers and ordered him to surrender and he done so. They brought him in and put in the stone house. He is undoubtedly a Mo. horse thief. He was mounted on a splendid horse which he had stolen from some Union Man but he will steal no more. I want you to tell me where John Badger and John Howard are if you can for I may near where they are. Give my respects to your mother Amos and Diana and all my old acquaintances in your neighborhood
Henry C Hart
P S Direct to Fort Scot Kansas Co C 2nd Rgt. O. V. C. Care of Capt Burnett
June 18 1862
Camp Doubleday Near Spring river––
40 miles from any place
Friend Watkins I received a letter from you sometime since but have not had an opportunity to answer sooner. I was very glad to hear from you and that you were well and as patriotic as ever. I am now enforcing good health we have been farther south than we are now to get a fight with Col Coffee & Stan Waity but in vain they ran from us. With nearly double our numbers we routed them and lay in their camps over night next day. We went out and gathered up 1500 head of very fine Cattle and about one hundred and fifty head of horses and ponies.
We are now encamped on the forks of Spring and Neosho rivers in the Cherokee Nation. it is a very Beautiful place for an encampment. We have good water & plenty of it. The rivers here are fed by springs. Consequently the water is clear & cold. But the weather has been very warm and dry ever since we have been here.
We routed the rebel encampment the 6th of June and next day followed up with our Battalion of cavalry but they made good their escape. We picked up about 30 prisoners. the Wisconsin 9th German regiment is here with us under Col. Solomon. It is very regiment it is as well drilled as any in the service in the handling of the musket and bayonet and we have Capt Rabs Battery from Indiana which is one of the best in the service.
But our only difficulty is to get the cowardly rebels to fight. We have also one regiment of Kansas troops with us.
But I have written as much about ourselves as situation perhaps as you wish to read. So I will close. Give my love to Diana and Amos your Mother and all my old friends and when peace once more comes to our once happy land I will try to visit you once more if I live through the Struggle Yours Truly
H. C. Hart
S D Watkins
P S please direct to Fort Scott and all letters will reach us
Sunday August 10th 1862
Friend Watkins I received your last a short time since and of course was glad to hear from you I am well and have been since I wrote you last.
I received a letter from Father the last mail Him and Mother are well. You inquired about Kansas as a place to settle. Some of it is very good country, but the inhabitants as a general thing are not of the best moral characters but the little town of Iola is the most pleasant part of Kansas. I have seen both as to citizens and country. The timber is good and soil also. it is settled by eastern people. There is a Disciple church in progress there. I have now forgotten the name of the County. It is situated 40 miles north west of Fort Scott and 100 from Fort Leavenworth in a southerly Direction.
But you must excuse my briefness in writing this time for my time is not my own and I am liable to interruption any time. We have been down to the Indian Territory on a very hard expedition. The water was from mud holes that we had to drink most of the time and many of our men were sick and quite a number died and more since we came back.
But I must close by asking you to favor me with an answer to this soon. Yours Respectfully
H. C. Hart
Fort Scott Oct 18th 1862
Friend Watkins I wrote to you some time since but have received no answer yet. I am still at Fort Scott on post duty. My health has been good this summer but there has been a good deal of sickness here among our soldiers. A great many have died. Our regiment alone have lost about 200 men. We are now scattered in Detachments through Mo and Kansas 150 are Detailed in a battery under command of Capt Stockton and 150 miles from here near Arkansas line following the Rebels. It is supposed they will make a stand at Pea Ridge the old battle ground of Siegal and Pries the 9th Wisconsin Infantry was badly cut up at ~Sarcosi~ in a short time since in making a charge against superior numbers. There is said to be 80,000 Union troops between Springfield & Cross Hollow & K’s following after the Rebel troops are passing through this place going south every week and Mo is well cleared of Rebels already and Arkansas soon will be.
But Richmond still remains in the hands of the Rebels with little prospect of being taken soon and the people are becoming dissatisfied with Mc McClellan and unless the Army of the Potomac is more active this winter than it was last I fear the North will become divided and our Nation ruined but we still hope for better things.
But I must close hoping to hear from you when you receive this.
Give my respects to all inquiring friends
Truly your friend
H. C. Hart
Capt De E Welch Co C 2nd O. V. C. U.S. Army
Dear friend Stephen
Long and anxious I have been looking for a letter from you. Have heard nothing from you in years and being 81 years old and probably just at the end of my pilgrimage soon the curtain will drop and shut out the Earth, with all its joys and sorrows and place me in that bright world where such sorrow as has so often fallen to my lot, the last of which my fair Henry captured June 29 /64 some six weeks before his 3 years time was out & starved to death at Andersonville, Ga. Died March 21st 1865. I never can get over it but with his mother must go mourning down to the grave. No language of which I am master can express the abhorrence I feel towards the actors actions and abettors of that land of more than average barbarity. I cannot write about it and will leave it for you to imagine my feelings & try something more agreeable to think about if spared until tomorrow 25th. Such changes as have taken place since you was here would astonish you since the discovery of the coal banks more than forty dwelling houses have been erected in our village & some four hundred Welch coal diggers are employed in the banks. In this town not less than $10,000 paid at the bank mostly mined on what was the Christy farm which my son Robert now owns and there are 5 other banks opened and doing a large business. A bank is opened on the farm I owned a shaft is sunk some ten rods west of the house 11 1/2 by 9 feet /44 feet deep, and 15 houses are going up right along a rail road a branch of the Mahoning Road reaches within 20 rods of the farm house. The farm house Oliver left is sold to the coal company for $6,500. The surface and the coal when taken out will net Simeon $75.00 per day for many years to come. Franklin Peck sold his little 66 acres farm for $10,000 all down and bought near Ravenna Portage County Ohio. No farm can be bought here for less than $100.00 per acre. Village lots are selling for five hundred dollars per half acre. Along the square the Methodists have a splendid meeting house with steeple and bell at some 3 thousand dollars expense & the town have got the foundation laid for a hall 40 by 20 feet 20 feet posts present for a high school room at the cost of $3,000 to be done first of October, but I forebear. I cannot begin to detail so the little I have written must suffice. My health is good for 81 years and Sabra about the same. The religious world full of commotions. Disciples have a ho[u]se and quite a body at Paine’s corners & getting several from Presbyterians & Methodists. Now Stephen please send me a long letter and tell me about all of your kin not forgetting Uncle Ben if he has not forgotten me. I enclose a photograph of Henry which Aunt Sabra wishes given to Diana to whom please remember your old worn out and just on the brink of Goshen friendly as ever and my wife. I am still Postmaster which brings me $170,00 one half of which pays office and clerk hire I have nothing to do but sign the sections quarterly reports.
[Unsigned. – hand writing and content identify the author as Orenus Hart] -Ed.
Hart Family Civil War letters to Stephen Watkins. Prairietree Letters pp. 88-90.